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West Sussex civil engineering firm in joint venture to build £167m Hampshire reservoir

The Business Magazine article image for: West Sussex civil engineering firm in joint venture to build £167m Hampshire reservoir
24 February 2023

A West Sussex-based civil engineering contractor is part of a joint venture that has won the £167m contract to build the Havant Thicket reservoir in Hampshire.

Mackley, a member of the Van Oord Group, and North Wales-based Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK have united as Future Water MJJV Limited to construct the first large-scale new water storage reservoir in the UK since the 1980s.

Mackley is based in Small Dole and also has offices in Maidstone, Eastleigh and the Isle of Wight.

Future Water MJJV has more than 150 years’ experience across a wide range of sectors, including water, energy, coastal protection and flood defence and is qualified in tackling complex and challenging civil engineering schemes.

Havant Thicket Reservoir is being progressed under an innovative partnership between Portsmouth Water and Southern Water, with Portsmouth Water appointing Future Water MJJV following a detailed tender process.

As part of the project, a new £41m tunnelled pipeline, running to and from the reservoir, is also set to be installed by Ward & Burke Construction Limited.

Bob Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at Portsmouth Water, said: “This is a major milestone for the Havant Thicket Reservoir project and we are delighted to have these two exceptional contractors delivering the scheme.

“We were highly impressed by the proposals put forward by Future Water MJJV and Ward & Burke during the tender process, with both companies being able to call upon vastly experienced teams, with strong track records in successfully delivering major infrastructure.”

Future Water director Ben Hamer commented: “Future Water is delighted to have been selected by Portsmouth Water to deliver this critical piece of water infrastructure for the South East of England. As a regional company, legacy projects, such as this, are central to the values of our staff and stakeholders.”

Mr Hamer’s fellow director John Dielhof added: “It’s a project that we can’t wait to get started on because we know how much of a positive impact it will have on the region.

“The scheme will safeguard dozens of jobs for our skilled workforce, as well as create opportunities for apprentices and trainees to kickstart their civil engineering career with us.

“In addition, we are eager to see the impact this has on the local economy, through supply chain opportunities and spend in the local area.”

Havant Thicket Reservoir in Havant will secure critical water supplies for the south east of England, help protect environmentally-sensitive chalk streams and create a new green leisure facility to benefit local communities and wildlife.

Once completed in 2029, the reservoir will hold approximately 8.7 billion litres of water and be able to supply up to 21 million litres of water each day.

It will be one mile from east to west, half-a-mile from north to south, with a new wetland on its northern shore, and is being built on a 160-hectare grassland site which has been owned by Portsmouth Water since the mid-1960s.

A new two-mile long pipeline, which is designed to be largely tunnelled, will also be built to fill Havant Thicket Reservoir in the winter with surplus water pumped from nearby Bedhampton Springs. It would also be used to draw water from the reservoir to supply customers when it’s needed.

The reservoir was granted formal planning permission in October 2021, with a further planning application for the new pipeline expected to be submitted in summer 2023.

Portsmouth Water will finance the Havant Thicket Reservoir scheme through a combination of £150 million of equity funding, provided by investors in the company’s owner Ancala Partners, as well as money that will be borrowed. £120 million of the equity funding will be used this year, with a further £30 million to follow in early 2024.

Ultimately, Havant Thicket Reservoir will be paid for by Southern Water, through its drinking water customer bills.

These costs are expected to be spread over many years to reflect the continued benefits of the reservoir. Portsmouth Water customers are not paying for the reservoir through their drinking water or wastewater bills.

For more information on the Havant Thicket Reservoir scheme, please visit

READ MORE: Portsmouth Water begins work on new reservoir for the South East


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